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Knutsford WI turning 90

Checking through the minutes of the Knutsford Women’s Institute’s first 90 years are, from left, Fairley Yeo, vice-president; Betty Sweet, member; Orell Smallman, president and Verna Smallman, secretary. The group is hosting a 90th anniversary Tea this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Checking through the minutes of the Knutsford Women’s Institute’s first 90 years are, from left, Fairley Yeo, vice-president; Betty Sweet, member; Orell Smallman, president and Verna Smallman, secretary. The group is hosting a 90th anniversary Tea this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. - Eric McCarthy

Hosting anniversary tea this Saturday

KNUTSFORD

There are lots of newsy tidbits in the numerous minutes books of the Knutsford Women’s Institute, the group’s longest-serving member and current president acknowledges.

“All I’ve done the last week is sit and read,” Orell Smallman chuckles. She’s catching up on that history in preparation for the Knutsford Women’s Institute’s 90th Anniversary Tea this Saturday, Sept. 8.

The afternoon of refreshments and entertainment will run from 2 to 5 p.m. in the former Knutsford School building which the institute group has owned and operated as a community center since the 1970s.

It was in that school building that 13 women of the community gathered on November 28, 1928 for the organizational meeting that led to the founding of the Knutsford Women’s Institute. The first meeting of the new group was subsequently held in the home of Mrs. Beecher Smallman.

Details on finances made for interesting reading, Smallman said, noting the Institute once received a bill for three cents after mailing a letter with a six-cent stamp, unaware that postage had gone up to nine cents. Proceeds from a bake sale and yard sale one year brought in $16.08 whereas a recent one raised $800 for the organization.

Smallman has been a member of the Knutsford WI for nearly 68 of its 90 years. The social benefits were one of her key reasons for joining and is still a reason for membership today, she admits. “A lot of time we didn’t see our neighbor until we had a meeting,” she said.

Working for the community is also a key reason for her continued participation, said Smallman. She added that the community has also been very generous in supporting the institute and institute events.
Their community center hosts many events including wedding showers, anniversaries and reunions. It has participated in the Festival of Small Halls the past two years

“There is a wonderful bond in the organization,” adds vice-president Fairley Yeo.

Over the past 90 years 113 women have served as members of the Knutsford WI, including 15 current members. Many of the members recently gathered to help set up the hall for the anniversary tea.

Special guests for the tea will include Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, MP Bobby Morrissey, MLA Robert Henderson, Marie Kenny Past President of the Federated Women’s Institute of Canada and PEIWI provincial president Doreen Wall.

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